Published: 05:00, 23 July 2019
A new flats development in Deal's town centre has been given the green light by planners.
Royal Leisure Centre in King Street, whose dilapidated arcade and first floor snooker hall are said to be financially unsustainable, will now been demolished.
In it's place, Dover District Council has agreed to 16 one or two bedroomed apartments - spread over three floors - with three retail units on the ground floor. These will be decided at a later stage.
The new development will be known as Royal Lodge and is envisaged to be completed within two years.
Nick Stevens, who is managing the project on behalf of property owner Mark Woolls, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have been granted planning permission.
"The development will greatly benefit Deal in terms of additional town centre residential choice and create new commercial opportunities, providing potential for the likes of independent enterprises and start-ups, which continue to represent a key aspect of Deal’s ever growing popularity.
"The dominant eyesore the property is today will no longer be left as a visual blight in relation to Middle Street, the High Street and King Street."
35 letters of support were received on the basis it would help the town centre remain busy and vibrant, it would provide opportunities for start up businesses and could benefit those looking to relocate.
There were 11 objections which included concern over the loss of a sound building, lack of parking and its bland design. Five representations expressed neutral comments.
The plan was later amended to just 16 apartments with DDC's officers recommended it for approval.
Following a reconsultation, four further objections were made and two in support.
The Quarterdeck enterprise, completed in 2015, set a precedent for a new style of combined residential and commercial development in the town.
This similar model features no car parking spaces, instead there will be cycle storage space on the ground floor, alongside refuge space.
The area between the flats and The Just Reproach will also be revamped to include benches and plants, opening up the view of Middle Street and giving the area a sense of purpose.
Mr Woolls said: "As well as attracting the market for new town centre residencies and lifestyle, this development presents a real opportunity for new businesses to invest in the town, create an attractive commercial link and increase footfall between the High Street, King Street and Beach Street."
The scheme has been more than two years in planning by Mike West of Dover based CAD Solutions Ltd, Ringwould based Environmental and Planning Consultancy, Peer Spanner and project manager, Nick Stevens.
Mr West has previously worked on the Golf Road Community Centre and Outdowns.
Read more: All the latest news from Deal